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Thursday, 17 June 2010

EDL Protest planned at Muslim rally [Harrow Observer]

- Jun 17 2010, by Tara Brady, Harrow Observer

mosque protest

PROTESTORS calling themselves the English Defence League are threatening to demonstrate in Wembley this month.

The group, which tours the country staging demonstrations, is planning a rally against a peace conference organised by a Muslim charity.

It is recruiting members via the internet to take part in the demonstration outside Wembley Arena on Saturday, June 26.

This week, Councillor Ann John, the leader of Brent Council, condemned the proposed protest and said the English Defence League (EDL) would not be welcome in Brent: "Brent is Britain's most diverse, multicultural and multi-faith borough. Diversity is our strength.

"The planned demonstration is a deliberate provocation aimed at creating fear among the Muslim community and under-mining community relations."

Brent and Harrow Unite Against Fascism (UAF) could stage its own counter-protest at the same time.

A statement from the organisation, which opposes racism and Islamophobia, said: "In Brent, people live and work together, children study, play and grow up together, in peace and mutual respect, regardless of faith or skin colour.

"As residents and workers in the borough, we will not tolerate attempts to divide us or stir up hatred."

The peace conference organised by Muslim charity, Al-Khair Foundation, aims to 'remove misconceptions, false fear and hate of Islam and Muslims globally'.

On the EDL website, members claim they are not racist or against Muslims, but that they are against extremism. It says: "As a movement we don't hate all Muslims, we respect their right to practise their religion peacefully as long as it does not infringe on our culture, our way of life, our rule of law and our customs."

Some protests which have taken place across the country, including one in Birmingham last September, have resulted in violence due to clashes between EDL and UAF.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it was unsure how many officers would be deployed if the demo took place but that it will be assessing the situation during the next week. He said: "Police will work in partnership with the local authority to ensure a peaceful event."

EDL was unavailable for comment.

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